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Democracy in French-speaking Africa

Democratic Struggle, Institutional Reform, and State Resilience in the African Sahel
SAHEL IN ENGLISH: France has, in a strange way, managed to preserve the hegemony over its former colonies, also in terms of the dissemination of knowledge. This book is a much-needed exception, which provides the background for understanding the recent coup in Mali.

It is rare that professional literature on the former French colonies is published in Africa in English. With the exception of one of the editors for Democratic Struggle who are americans, all of the writers are africans from Sahel, the region they write about. All have doctoral degrees and are either professors, political advisers or civil society leaders. The six Sahel countries: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso,, Niger and Chad, each devoted a chapter while the editors set theoretical frameworks and compare.

It is refreshing to have a book about French-speaking Africa that does not allow French researchers to become the most central or allow France to be the references it's all about. This is about the internal political dynamics since the beginning of democratization in the Sahel in the early 1990s.

Formal democracies

When the Berlin Wall fell (1989) and Francis Fukuyama proclaimed "the end of history" (1992) and claimed that liberal democracy was the world's only remaining ideological government, the democratization processes in Africa also began.

All the Sahel countries went from being military one-party states to becoming formal democracies. . .

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Ketil Fred Hansen
Hansen is a professor of social sciences at UiS and a regular reviewer at Ny Tid.

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